Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Green Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Green Valley AZ, you may be wondering just how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also choose to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Green Valley AZ pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Green Valley AZ pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Green Valley AZ pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Green Valley pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Green Valley AZ home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Green Valley AZ area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Green Valley residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Green Valley AZ employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Green Valley AZ area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Green Valley AZ after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Green Valley AZ residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Green Valley AZ area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Green Valley Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Green Valley Arizona.